President's Body Guards


Adapted from the President of India website

altThe President's Bodyguard (PBG), as it is known today, was raised in 1773 at Benares, by then Governor General Warren Hastings, with a strength of 50 picked troopers and horses. This nucleus of the Bodyguard was later augmented by another 50, provided by Raja Chet Singh of Benares, bringing the overall strength of the Bodyguard up to 100 horses and men by the end of that year. The establishment of the Regiment varied through the years, being augmented in times of war and it attained its maximum strength of 1929 all ranks, in the Army List of 1845, just prior to the First Sikh War. The PBG continued to be a select cavalry unit, primarily for the personal and battlefield security of the Governor General.

After Independence, in keeping with its high traditions, the PBG rendered yeoman service in 1947 and around the capital in the upheaval during the aftermath of partition. The Regiment saw action in 1965, when it participated in 'Operation Ablaze' in the Western theatre. In 1988 and 1989, detachments of the PBG has served on the world's highest battlefield in Siachen as well as with the Indian contingent forming part of the United Nations force in Somalia and Angola. The PBG today is a small body of men comprising of four officers,14 JCOs and 161 Bodyguards backed up by administrative support personnel, an establishment which has not changed much in the last century. Equipped with armoured cars, its men are also trained for operational duties, both as tank men and airborne troops in addition to their ceremonial role.

Titles and Designations of the Corps

Since its raising in 1773, the Corps had various titles and came to be known as The Governor General's Bodyguard in 1784. In the 1858, the Corps was designated The Viceroy's Bodyguard, but continued to be referred to as the GGBG. In 1944 it was briefly known as the 44th Divisional Reconnaissance Squadron (GGBG). In 1947, it was formally re-designated with its old title. The Governor General's Bodyguard on 26 January 1950, with India's declaration as a Republic, became the President's Bodyguard.

The President's Silver Trumpet & Trumpet Banner

The President's Bodyguard has the unique distinction of being the only military unit in the Indian Army, privileged to carry the President's Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner.

Standards, Guidons, Colours and Banners

The PBG like most mounted units also carries a Regimental Standard. The Regimental Standard, whenever uncased and carried on Parade, is always accorded a mounted armed escort and is saluted by the Regiment when it first comes 'On Parade' to occupy the pride of place at the head of the mounted Corps. Symbolising the honour and pride of the Regiment, this is always paid compliments by all troops under arms, personnel in uniform and spectators who stand as mark of respect, as the Regimental Standard and its Escort, pass by.

The Badge and Credo

The Badge of the PBG comprises the state symbol borne aloft on an open parachute supported by crossed lances. These are held together by its title. The crest thus, symbolizes the PBG's cavalry and airborne role. As befitting its status, the motto of the PBG is 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' (Victory to Mother India). Colours of the Regiment are sky blue and maroon same as those for airborne troops.

The Bodyguard Troops

Recruitment was initially almost exclusively from among Mohammedans of the area of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Towards the last decade of the 18th century, Brahmins from Bengal began to replace the earlier Mughals. Recruitment to the Regiment in India now is in equal share, to Sikhs, Jats and Rajputs, with officers and Administrative Staff from all over India.

Mounts of The President's Bodyguards

Horses of the President's Bodyguards are bay in colour, except that for the Regimental Trumpeter, who traditionally is always mounted on a Grey Charger. They are require to be of a minimum height of 157.5 cms, measured at the shoulder, and are the only horses in the Indian Army, permitted to wear full manes, like their counterparts of the household cavalry in Britain. The Mechanical Mounts of the PBG have been various Daimler and Humber Armoured Cars, equipped with 2 pounder and 37mm cannon and machine guns respectively, the indigenous Nissan Scout Car and currently the BTR-60 armoured vehicle.

Role of the President's Bodyguards

The President's Bodyguards as seen is an integral part of all State functions be it the Republic Day Parade, Beating Retreat, the State Opening of Parliament, visits by the Heads of State, Ceremonial Changing of the Guard, investitures, presentation of letters of credence, swearing-in of Government Ministers, state banquets, or receptions by the President of India.

Uniforms of the President's Bodyguards


The traditional uniform and accoutrements today, date back to 1890 and comprise a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan, a red or white long coat with gold girdles white buckskin gauntlets, white breeches and Napoleon boots with spurs. The PBG's special 10'9" long bamboo cavalry lances, carried in stirrup lance buckets are adorned with the red and white cavalry pennant.

A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried at the side of the saddle of each trooper. The wings of a trained combat parachutist, in gold, adorn the breast of each member of the PBG, in symmetry with full medals. The officers and Junior facings, on heavily embroidered tunics with gold aiguillettes. Officers carry cavalry sabred on parade with scabbards supported in a scarlet and gold sabretache.

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